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Rockarena 1977

Rockarena was promoted as the biggest outdoor concert ever staged in Australia, with headliners Fleetwood Mac supported by, Santana, Little River Band, Kevin Borich Express and Creation.

Dates – 1977

Nov 11 RAS Showgrounds, Sydney
Nov 13 Calder Park Raceway, Melbourne

Sound System – Clair Brothers

32 x Clair S4 Speaker Cabinets, each containing:
2 x JBL 18″
4 x JBL 10″
2 x JBL 2″ Compression Driver
2 x JBL Slot Tweeter

Clair Bros Crew

James ‘Trip’ Khalaf
Chuck Hull
James Devenney
Steve Paterno

Additional System – Jands Concert Productions

12 x Hurler (sub-Low) c/w 4 x JBL 2205
4 x RCA W Bin c/w 2 x JBL K140
16 x JBL 4560 c/w 1 x JBL 2220
16 x JBL 4580 c/w 2 x JBL K120
24 x JBL 2350 Horn + 2480 Driver
16 x JBL 2355 Horn + 2440 Driver
10 x JBL 2356 Horn + 2480 Driver
48 x JBL 075 Tweeters

Jands Crew

Eric Robinson – Production Manager
David Mulholland – Audio
Vagn Stenvei – Audio
Peter Rooney – Lighting

All photos © Jands Pty Limited. Click to enlarge

Vibes Magazine 1977

by Christine Chidiac
The coming Fleetwood Mac, Santana, Little River Band tour looks like it is going to be an even bigger smash than Rod Stewart’s blockbuster tour in February this year

Currently the group in the world, who swept all before them at the recent America Rock Music Awards, the five superstars in Fleetwood Mac will get the ultimate star treatment while they are on their “Rockarena” tour of Australia

They will arrive in Sydney on November 10, aboard a chartered Boeing 707 along with a road crew of more than 100 technicians and musi- cians and one half of their support act in Australia, Santana. Accompanying them will be one of the biggest rock promoters in the world, Bill Graham, of Woodstock and Led Zeppelin fame, who will compere the Rockarena concerts in each city

Promoter Paul Dainty and publicist Patti Mostyn will have their or- ganizational work cut out for them backstage too. They will have to arrange transport for equipment for three groups instead of the usual one, and feed the always hungry road crew

Six marquees will be set up back stage to feed them, with breakfast beginning at 6 am, followed by a continuing barbecue lunch from 11 am to 4 pm and then dinner, complete with white tablecloths, silverware and waiters, from 5 pm until the concert starts

To keep everybody happy, there will be a marquee for pinball players, another for games, and 12 luxury caravans for dressing rooms. As Paul Dainty says, these concerts are not just music presentations — the quality and the organization behind the line-up ensure they will be events

Audiences will appreciate the inclu- sion of our own Little River Band in the Rockarena tour. Loyal fans have bought more than 100,000 copies of their latest album, “Diamantina Cocktail” and the cash registers are still humming with LRB sales.

49 responses to “Rockarena 1977”

  1. I was at this concert at Calder in 1977. Is their a DVD of the concert?

  2. DavidM says:

    Hi Greg
    There’s no DVD that I’m aware of but there’s some great footage, from the Sydney concert, on YouTube:

  3. Alan says:

    I attended, along with about a dozen friends, the Rockarena concert in Sydney at the Showgounds. This was THE tour of the 70’s and it seemed everyone wanted to go. The Showground was packed to witness this wonderful lineup of bands. Fleetwood Mac were high at that time especially after the release of their sensation album Rumours and every guy was in love with Stevie Nicks!

    It was also great to see our own Little River Band who’d made it big in US back home and sounding so good live. I remember they did “Return To Sender” as a tribute to Elvis who’d passed away that year. I remember too the crowd were friendly and in party mood except for a couple of idiots high in the stands who decided to take a swing at a couple of cops. Everyone turned to watch the punchup while US compare Bill Graham tried to calm the situation. It didn’t work so an Aussie crew guy grabbed mike off him and told these guys to stop “f*#king around”! The fight ended and these guys were dragged off by cops in true 70’s policing style!

    When Fleetwood Mac finally came on the crowd went wild. They sounded great (Stevie of course looked great!) and blasted out all their hits. I don’t think I’d seen such a huge/powerfull sound system at an outdoor concert before. Would have to be THE concert of the 70’s.

  4. Pete says:

    I was 11-years-old at the time. I distinctly remember hearing Fleetwood Mac’s set from our nearby apartment, which was very close to the Showgrounds.

  5. Nino says:

    Was at the Calder raceway concert, yes was awesome … Can you get a collection of pic, posters or footage of this amazing event ???

  6. SueS says:

    I was at the Sydney Rockarena concert. Stevie was not at her best and Chris kept apologising for her, but FM as a whole was great. Still, I loved LRB better. Their harmonies were just jawdropping. Loved Kevin Borich too. Had an amazing time. Still have the ticket.

  7. Love the detail of the MEGA MEGA MEGA sound system, and all the gear on stage. “More strength to the arm”, of the guys that had to “make it all happen”. I was studying at RMIT that year, and possibly, being a student, didn’t have the “bread, man”, to take an interest / attend. “Just up the road” from Sunbury / the Duncan farm, and Diggers Rest, (the V-line trains “staging” station for Sunbury), and famous Diggers Rest pub frequented by many a thirsty Sunbury attendee.

  8. Dom says:

    Hello, does anyone know where I can find a tour poster for this show please?

  9. MM says:

    I was there, and remember it like yesterday. Don’t take this the wrong way but Creation were rubbish I woke up from a sleep in the hot sun by Kevin Borich doing his slide guitar on I’m Going Downtown.

    Carlos Santana was fantastic! Little River Band it was great but I caught up with Glenn Shorrock some years later. He remembered like it was yesterday. That wasn’t that long ago in 2011.

    It was a hot day, the toilets a mess, but when Stevie sang Rhiannon in the cool breeze just after dusk….. the hairs still stand up on the back of my neck.


  10. Deidree says:

    Was this the concert where Fleetwood Mac took an eternity to get to the stage, and when they finally did, all the crowd (by now, standing up and milling around) surged forward to see the headline act?

    After a few minutes, the people behind started yelling for them to sit down, but it was too crowded to sit – so those behind started throwing first empty beer cans and then bottles. It was terrifying . . . we all had to sit down on top of each other to avoid being injured – I never went to another large unseated concert after that – still get a bit claustrophobic in crowds.

    And they weren’t even that good – Santana was the standout.

  11. Terry says:

    Great concert. Caught the overnight train from Goulburn with 27 other fellow trainee teachers. Mind blowing concert. I too remember Stevie Nicks playing Rhiannon at dusk with the breeze blowing back her hair. Remember sleeping at Melbourne station that night before catching the 7.30 train back to Goulburn.

  12. Jeff says:

    I’m from Goulburn too. Teacher’s College Terry? I think I may know you.

    When I was 20 years old in 1977, a friend and myself traveled by train to Sydney for the Friday, November 11 concert at the Showground. We arrived early enough to claim a good central position and only had to make one trip to the messy toilets, thankfully. The entertainment began with “some Japanese band”, we later found were named ‘Creation’, followed by Borich, who was great as always. Little River Band weren’t to my taste, but surprisingly, I was really impressed by them. Santana were amazing, my favourite of the day. No one could sit still, absolutely everyone was groovin’ to the rhythm. Some bloke climbed halfway up a lighting tower to cheers from the crowd, and the smell of weed was continuously present.

    By dusk, Fleetwood Mac took to the stage and were quite good, but not brilliant. Stevie Nicks kept leaving the stage but they certainly entertained the audience with all those great songs, ending with Christine McVie performing ‘Songbird’. This was my Big Day Out, memorable.

    P.S. I still have my ticket stub No.15638 and concert brochure – WE PLAY RAIN OR SHINE

  13. Lisa says:

    I’m sitting here listening to Santana blaring through my stereo & decided to google when I saw them in concert a long time ago (1977). It was such an amazing day. I was all of 15 & my step Dad was an electrician at the Sydney Showgrounds. He said us kids had to come with him to work because Mum was working. I remember thinking “what a pain”.

    We didn’t have tickets so we had to go & sit with all these people (bands, roadies etc lol) on the grass in front of the stage. OMG Can you imagine?

    I was sitting next to these “older foreign guys” & they let me play around on the bongo’s & stuff. It was actually Carlos Santana’s crew. There were heaps of roadies, friends & family just sitting around on the grass & of course up dancing when the bands were on. There were so many joints being passed around and everyone seemed to totally cool but obviously stoned!

    Santana were amazing on stage & are still one of my all time favorite banks (bar Pink Floyd – sorry guys). The other bands were good too.

    Can’t believe I was whinging about going. It was one of the best days of my youth!

  14. Mal says:

    I remember this concert very well. I was very close to the stage with my then girlfriend and my flat mates. We were smart enough to ride our motorbikes to Calder as there was a huge traffic line up of cars in the hot sun. The crowd was both massive and generally well behaved. Remember Fleetwood Mac fly in by helicopter on dust, then take a while to get on stage and sing all their great songs.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I went to that concert and. Climbed up a lighting tower and what i remember as a filming tower,great view although i got hit in the head by a full can, thrown by the crowd,amazing bands, awesome day,

  16. Matt says:

    I was at the Sydney concert. I went to see Santana and Borich. managed a few photos. Looking for video footage of the Sydney concert still…

  17. David Graham says:

    I was there in 1977 at the Calder raceway. Great gig. Borich a highlight for us – we were all fans of his guitar playing then. Went with five friends. We were all 16 at the time. Santana brilliant. ‘Europa’ had us in sonic heaven. We hitched all the way home and that was another adventure! Sadly my best mate died of cancer in 2013. He was there and talked of it often.

  18. ken says:

    Yes I was there in Sydney. What an amazing concert…Santana and Fleetwood Mac especially and of course Stevie Nicks live on stage, fantastic! I remember there was stacks of light sticks with lots of them worn around the head and arms as the sun faded….very funky!My friends and I went home and blacked out our garage pin pricked the sticks and sprayed the luminous liquid all over the ceiling and walls!!

  19. Robyn says:

    I was there with a group of friends from Wollongong. There was a bus that drove us there from the Gong and it was packed.
    The atmosphere and concert were fantastic, I still have fond memories of it!
    As mentioned by someone else on here Stevie Nicks was not at her best for some reason. Overall they were good though.
    Santana were fantastic but being an outdoor event it doesn’t do justice to them, I think they’re best suited to an indoor arena.
    I still feel that LRB stole the show though. I hadn’t heard much of them at that time but I’m sure it would have really catapulted their career.

  20. I was just thinking about this recently because I’m enjoying Fleetwood Mac at the moment and I remember November 1977 at calder park racetrack when I went there with all my band friends it was a fantastic day a lot of people We sat somewhere in the middle in front of the bands there wasn’t a care in the world we just enjoyed ourselves being with our mates, I think the highlight for me was to see Kevin boridge the sound was amazing I could hear everything. I don’t even remember how I got there????????????

  21. Anonymous says:

    I went to the sydney concert with my sister. Before we got in we were walking around off our you know whats. A big limo drove passed then it pulled up.out got this huge black dude then mick fleetwood got out and asked if we needed tickets.could not beleive it.

  22. Kim Olson says:

    A group of us drove down from the Nyah Trots near Swan Hill Victoria the night before. We slept in our cars in one of the small towns just before Calder Raceway as my Torana didn’t have enough fuel to make it and servos were closed. We were all sitting about 50 metres back enjoying it when Fleetwood Mac came on. We decided to get closer so we walked to the front of the stage as they kept a gap open to walk through. We stopped right at the front and stepped back into the crowd. No-one told us to move so we watched them from there. They were only like 3 metres away. They were great but Santana and Kevin Borich were just as good. I remember when it finished when the 60000 people were all moving to get out and the dust was incredible. A fantastic trip with good mates

  23. Tim says:

    Just re-learning Europa on the guitar atm and thought I’d google this show that I went to at Calder in 1977. Cool memories. LRB and Santana were my favourite bands at the time so it was totally un-missable. Caught the special bus from Flinders St. Calder Raceway was a dust bowl in the middle of nowhere. The place was packed. We just kind of pushed our way to the front and ended up about 6 deep from the stage. It was a hot day and I got badly sunburnt. I looked like a beetroot at school for a week. Kevin Borich was great early on, and then jamming with Santana was amazing. LRB were brilliant. Santana was what I really came to see – fantastic. FM came on after dark and Stevie Nicks sang Rhiannon with flowing back robes whipped up by a dust storm if I remember it accurately. Just amazing. Getting out of the place was a nightmare. The bus got back to the CBD about 3am. I have no idea how I actually got home. A year or two later punk came along, and then new wave, for which Melbourne was one of the centres of the universe. Stadium rock all seemed so irrelevant by then. I wouldn’t have listened to this stuff again then if you paid me. But it’s a fond memory again now. But the first Cure tour, Magazine, and Siouxsie and Banshees are my Melbourne lifetime gig highlights (Crystal Ballroom and Astor Theatre), with honourable mention to Kraftwerk at the Princess Theatre. All 1980/81.

  24. mal says:

    I was there at this concert. Was about 6 metres from the stage looking up at Santana, Stevie Nicks, Kevin Borrich and LRB. Rode our motorbikes there and had an absolute ball.

  25. Liz says:

    one of my best memories – it was the day of my boyfriends last HSC exam in 1977. what a way to celebrate – schoolbeingoutforever !

  26. Marion says:

    Wow, this will soon be 40 years ago! I was there as a 17yo with my new boyfriend and some friends. It was such an amazing concert, the atmosphere with so many people and great bands was absolutely incredible … awesome memories! … and we were married 3 years later and will soon celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary, he’s a keeper 🙂

  27. Chris Nelson says:

    Calder park, Man, I was there too, the LOOOOOONNNNGG queues to get in, listening to the support band till we could get past the gate. Then the call “SANTANA” Just fabulous. Waiting to heat Fleetwood Mac and the buzz and cheers that went up when they appeared on stage!!
    Sunburn and an exhausted Chris and a couple of friends finally found our car and followed the white coated staff to an exit that took us on a road we didn’t know in a direction we didn’t want to go but we eventually found our way home.
    Survived a fantastic concert with many memorable acts.
    This one will be there in my mind for ever.

  28. Robert Stevens says:

    I was at the top of the grandstand. I distinctly remember the desperation of a couple of my mates who couldn’t wait to relieve themselves, so they did their business in the car fridge. Ooh

  29. Peter Kelly says:

    Faaark , we rocked out back in the day

  30. David Robertson says:

    Is the hour and half set by Santana all that is on video from the Melbourne Rockarena? Who shot that? Watermark says ROckVision? Anyone know whether any other vision exists of the Melbourne gig?

  31. George says:

    I’m pretty sure Channel 7 recorded the entire show, all acts, but only ever screened the Santana set highlights over 2 weeks on Nightmoves. They should have it all in their archives.

  32. Craig says:

    I was at the Calder Rockarena concert aged 14 with 4 others and it was fantastic! Hot dusty day, sunburn,long cues to get in…I remember there was a guy mooning the crowd from the embankment.
    Channel 7 did record the event and when I worked there several years later I found a 1″ dub tape in the archive but there was only the Santana section as I recall. There was also a large screen there on the night for Fleetwood Mac. The GE projector was the largest of its kind at the time. It was just amazing seeing Santana and Fleetwood Mac live

  33. Sandra says:

    It was precisely 42 years ago and Santana and Fleetwood Mac are still rock legends. I remember sitting on a friends shoulder near to the front and loved every minute of one of the best concert.
    A blast from the past.

  34. Sandra says:

    It was precisely 42 years ago and Santana and Fleetwood Mac are still rock legends. I remember sitting on a friends shoulder near to the front and loved every minute of one of the best concert.
    A blast from the past.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Amazing a windy stormy night a perfect setting stevie nicks and lynsey Buckingham absolutely magical together followed by mick Fleetwood christine and john macvee goosebumps from head to toe all l can say is oh what a night

  36. Trish says:

    I was there at Rock Arena Calder 1977 with my brother. What a great day/ night it was.
    Can anyone verify if Johnny O’Keefe or Cole Joy sang that night !
    Basically just helicopter in at the last moment to make an appearance.
    I have spoken to many people over the years about this but one can remember.
    Maybe I am mistaken !!!

  37. Thomas Lahey says:

    I had to take the next day off school Calder 77, 16 years old. My girlfriend Anne Ried got me the tickets but I never saw her there it was too crowded to find anybody! Getting there and getting home was a separate adventure it took forever. I remember all of the acts and got close to the front. LRB were the standout band to me. I was so proud to see an Australian band perform so well amongst the big names. Carlos Santana was young, humble, yet so colourful with is guitar playing. Fleetwood Mac came on late and the energy was electric. We had never seen a concert like this before!

  38. Jenni Scott says:

    I was 16 years old and my then boyfriend and I and another friend went to Calder Park. A hot day, great music. Little River Band was fantastic as well as Kevin Borich and Santana. When Fleetwood Mac came on, everyone stood up and it was harder to see. A magic memory. Slept in my boyfriends car until the traffic cleared and got home about 6am. So glad to be a part of this great day.

  39. Mark Browne says:

    I was 19 in 1977 and attended the Melbourne Rockarena at Calder Park. From reviews I believe we got the best Fleetwood Mac performance (compared to Sydney). I arrived while the first Japanese rock band were playing, I remember being pretty unimpressed by them. However Kevin Borich Express, Carlos Santana and Fleetwood Mac were outstanding. I wasn’t into the pop sounds of Little River Band at the time, they were on I think after Carlos and before Fleetwood Mac. I had some dinner then, I must have taken food with me. Kevin Borich won guitarist of the day for me as hard rock was my favourite back then. Santana was transcendental, completely magic, flowing song into song uninterrupted as they do on their live albums. Their singer and Carlos’s playing and the percussion were amazing. As I said, I wasn’t too into LRB but they did play their songs and hits very well. Then Fleetwood Mac topped out the day with a great set based of course on the Rumours album. They were a tight unit and Stevie Nicks was spellbinding. I bailed out as they finished their encores, so managed to be one of the first out of the carpark. I went home on the backroads via Sunbury and avoided ALL the traffic. I got home to Heidelberg in about 45 minutes, running high on adrenalin all the way home. Ii was an immensely satisfying day and it is still very memorable after all these years. I took about 220 colour slides for my three favourite bands, I have just scanned all these and am posting them on Tumblr – check them out on my blog at where you can use the tag search function to hone in on each band or artist. Enjoy! I will also link from that blog back to this website.

  40. Jeffrey Graf says:

    melbourne ’77, great concert, fleetwood Mac just off the end of there world tour and where pretty average and coked up, santana was brilliant, had kevin borich jamming just off stage with him, best act of the day, little river band was great as always, japan was so so, still have the slides i took that day, must get photos off someday, was just off to the left of the left tower. out of all the people there that day found my best mate who was also there…..fate, got dropped off at the concert and no ride home so started walking out and we ran into some more friends that where there and we got a lift home…What a Day to remember….Great memories i cherish to this day, with long lost friends, Past and present….Cheers Jeffrey Graf Perth WA 2022

  41. Kerri says:

    I was at the Calder Rock Arena. Thinking back l am suprised l was allowed to go. I was 14 and went with friends who’s dad took was an amazing day. So many people and fantastic music. A real eye opener for me. Awsome memories of a long gone time…

  42. Peter Mallard says:

    I was at the Sydney gig …$12.50 to get in and I jumped the fence that was I days pay….what a bloody unreal gig…cheers Duck

  43. Zappy says:

    I was at the Melbourne show. I was 17 years old. I still have the ticket stub. On the strength of this I saw the Tusk tour in 1981. That was the last time I ever wanted to see FM.

  44. Zappy says:

    The Santana set was recorded and played ad nauseaous on Night moves with Lee Simon for the next twlve months. I HATE Santana. My sister had that stinker Caravanserai. It was rubbish. He might have been a great axe man but the band was pure shite

  45. D says:

    I was there with my future husband.
    We remember trudging up to the slopes for reprieve.
    It was crowded & extremely hot & for some reason there was an issue getting water out to the crowds.
    We laid on our backs on the slope when a chopper appeared above us with all these guys hanging out waving, making friendly gestures.
    It was Carlos Santana & crew. Somehow we ended behind the stage.
    We hitched home. A tow truck picked us up. Quite free n easy. There were hikers all over the tray.

  46. Mark Edwards says:

    Worked on this gig as a loader at Calder along with every Melbourne crew who were available at the time. Probably 30 or so answered the call..twas of the biggest outdoor gigs ever ??

  47. Sylvie Leber says:

    What was the name of the 4th band? They were Australian. I’m referring to the big gig at the Calder Park Raceway gig in Melbourne?

  48. DavidM says:

    The two Australian acts were Little River Band and Kevin Borich Express

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